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Naga to market ‘green charcoal’

Words | Jason B. Neola
Photograph | Randy Villaflor

What, exactly, is “green charcoal?”

This was the usual question asked by curious residents and onlookers after witnessing the delivery of four machines that will be used to manufacture lowly “water lilies” into environment friendly charcoal and provide livelihood opportunities to those engaged in the novel project.

The machines, amounting to more than Php500,000, were purchased by the Department of Trade and Industry for the Naga City Water Hyacinth Development Project, one of the livelihood and entrepreneurship projects introduced by Mayor John G. Bongat’s Barangay GROW Negosyo program and managed by the Metro PESO’s Enterprise and Cooperative Development Center. The acquisition of the equipment is expected to expand livelihood opportunities in the barangays. The project was formally launched in Sitio Pagdaicon, Barangay Mabolo, here, last March.Coming out as compact briquettes, green charcoal is actually colored black, as ordinary charcoal is. With the water hyacinth (water lily) as raw material, briquette making utilizes four machines, which include a dewatering machine, mixer, hammer mill and charcoal briquetting apparatus.

Internet research and reference sites show that charcoal made of water lily is an economical and practical source of fuel for household cooking without producing the usual smoke and odor from the use of ordinary charcoal.

These briquettes may serve as an environment-friendly alternative to Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG).
The compact briquette worksite for the Mabolo Charcoal Briquetting Center was inaugurated last March 7, 2011, along with the induction of the officers of Mabolo Entrepreneurs Association and the Tinago Water Hyacinth Handicraft Development Association.

In a related development, the City Government has chosen Brgy. Tinago to be Naga’s handicraft center. Initially making use of water lilies as raw materials for handicrafts, Tinago is expected to use other raw materials in the near future.

Over 70 families are expected to benefit from the water hyacinth briquetting and handicraft production of barangays Mabolo and Tinago, respectively.